As a child, I was often surrounded with people who exceeded expectations. Instead of the leisurely three-hour hike, they led the all day, morning-to-night, twelve-hour hike. Instead of a small party, they invited everyone they knew, and helping others sometimes meant giving beyond reasonable means.
In a large part, exceeding expectations demonstrated that what we dream of can happen, and that stretching beyond your comfort level has the potential to positively impact another's life in significant ways. Though it meant challenging work and effort, exceeding expectations seem to make the impossible, possible. Often, those most passionate will exceed expectations in their areas of passion and make terrific progress in those areas. They forge the path through the forest of the unknown or uncharted territory, and lead the way for others.
Yet, on the other hand, you can't always exceed expectations since having that kind of mindset can also lead to exhaustion and a life less balanced than desired. Should you aim to exceed expectations or to have a more balanced approach to expectations? Which is preferred? This is not a right or wrong question. Instead it's a question that you may answer differently for the various stages or parts of your life. Perhaps you'll want to exceed expectations in some areas while you're satisfied to simply meet expectations in other areas.
As the new school year begins, it's good to think about where you will invest your energy. You won't be able to exceed expectations in all the areas you're responsible for--there's simply too many pieces to the school puzzle, but you do have the chance to give some areas of school life extra attention and passion, and in those areas you have the chance to substantially impact your students and learning community. In other areas, you will probably choose to meet expectations by following the lead of others.
Finding a good balance of exceeding and meeting expectations is a good way to go as you work to teach children well in the year ahead. That balance will help you to use your energy well to do the work that matters.